Mandaluyong used to be a forestral agricultural town with rolling terrain, vast grasslands, and marshlands. Its inaccessibility to Manila and adjacent municipalities due to absence of connecting roads rendered Mandaluyong then the most backward amongst municipalities now comprising Metropolitan Manila.
Urbanization gradually began halfway through the 20th Century with the construction of the Sevilla Bridge connecting to Manila, and the improvement of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue or EDSA, then called Highway 54, as well as Shaw Boulevard. Very few open spaces remained by the late 1980’s as industrial sites, commercial strips and residential subdivisions developed.
By 1990, Mandaluyong was about 39.35% Residential, 7.88% Commercial, 12.92% Industrial, 9.50% Institutional, and 30.29% open space (a combination of parks, road networks, cemeteries, and vacant idle land).
Now centrally located in the major transport network in Metropolitan Manila, Mandaluyong suddenly became an ideal location for large business and commercial establishments of global standards. This led to commercialization of land strips along prominent roads such as Ortigas Avenue, Martinez, San Francisco, Sgt. Bumatay, Barangka Drive and Pioneer Streets.
Classification of Mandaluyong into a highly urbanized city in 1994 led to further intensification of land uses. By 1995, commercial activities, mostly in the form of medium to high rise structures, covered about 13.30% of the city land area.
Planned development of the area bounded by Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong-Pasig boundary, the Pasig River, and EDSA from a Medium Intensity Industrial Zone into a Central Business District came about in 1997 as the city’s response to major redevelopment projects in prime areas in the Metropolis. Expansion of Ortigas Center and development of Fort Bonifacio CBD have the most considerable influence as these areas are in the immediate vicinity of the Mandaluyong CBD. Gradual dispersal of industries from this area to areas outside Metro Manila was manifested by the rise of towering structures such as the Pioneer Highlands, City Square Pioneer, the Legend Villas, restaurants, furniture shops and other commercial and residential establishments.
Elsewhere in the city proliferated multi-level residential and office condominiums as well as middle-class residential subdivisions, further reducing industrial areas by 1.97% in 1998.
At the turn of the century, commercial activities originally confined to strips along prominent roads appeared in random with institutions and industrial activities, within large expanse of residential areas.
While residential use remained the dominant use in the city, parks and open spaces for public use were in short supply, despite the presence of two large open spaces, one in Brgy. Wack-Wack in the northern part of the city which is actually the Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club and exclusively private, and the other in Brgy. Addition Hills, a Planned Unit Development area.
As reflected in the 2001 Land Use Map (Map 08), one can reasonably conclude that development of the city is directed towards full commercialization, not only due to attracting more investors, but also with the tendency of the residents to engage in more economically productive activities as manifested by the proliferation of commercial activities within residential zones.
By the year 2004, Mandaluyong is 36.84 percent Residential, 17.55 percent Commercial, 7.18 percent Institutional, 5.33 percent Industrial and 33.09 percent open space and others (Map 9 / Table 3.01).
Each of the 27 barangays in the city has its own share of commercial areas as these generate additional income to the barangay.